Pakistan - Religions

The country of Pakistan was essentially created as a Muslim homeland. Islam is the state religion and actions or speech contrary or derogatory to Islam are illegal. According to a 1998 census, some 98% of the population was Muslim, giving Pakistan one of the largest Islamic communities in the world. While most Muslims are of the Sunni and Shi'a sects, there are a few members of the Isma'ili sect concentrated at Kara¯chi. Ahmadis, who consider themselves Muslims but are not accepted as orthodox by other Muslim groups and were officially declared non-Muslims by the government in 1974, numbered perhaps 2,500,000 by 1985. In the 1998 census, about 2% of the population were Christians with the largest group belong to the Church of Pakistan, an umbrella Protestant organization. Roman Catholics are the next largest group of Christians. About 2% of the population are Hindus with about 2,000 temples and shrines, mostly in Sindh and Baluchistan. About 5,000 Parsis, believers in Zoroastrianism, live in Kara¯chi.

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